Two to Tango By Priya & Manjeet

At Beyond the Box, we are constantly thinking of ideas to give something unique, refreshing as well as challenging to our community of writers. Two to Tango is one such endeavour to encourage the participants to work along with another writer as a team and bring about a creative synergy. 40+ teams participated in Season 3 of this one-of-its-kind contest and the winners were chosen by prolific author Kanchana Banerjee. Below prompt was given to the writers and they were asked to narrate the same story from two different points of view. 

Prompt – Write a fictional story in which a book reveals a secret. Feel free to creatively interpret the prompt in any genre of your choice. 

The winners in the adults’ category were Priya Nayak-Gole & Manjeet Chandra (Team 27). Enjoy their story!

Illustration by Manjeet Chandra


Point of View #1 

By Priya Nayak-Gole

The crows are harbingers of death…

The policemen scamper like scared rabbits. Not every day does one get called to investigate a high-profile murder. It’s over an hour and the clueless men in khaki have achieved nothing but click pictures at different angles around the dead body.

My body. 

The rain finally has blessed us with respite. The scarlet dawn plays hide-and-seek with the raindrops perched daintily on the window-sill adjoining my study where I lay slouched, still reeking of booze. My mind vacillating across boundaries, shadowy and vague. 

I can see the headlines already…   Best-selling writer Riya, fatally overdoses

Amidst enclosing babel

Eerie cawing my only stable….

As I stare at my limb body yet to harden, more with the apathetic life in my last months compared to nature’s course, I see the inspector-in-charge rushing in. 

It’s Amrit, my first love… the only one. His beautiful brown orbs filled with stunned anguish; I wish I could just plunge into their depths like I did years ago instead of the abyss I crashed into. 

Amrit’s gaunt face lined with misery puts up a façade of the hardcore cop. His booming stance unquivering, gets all his men in attention. But I know better. He was the most passionate person, the most gentle and kind-hearted soul, a complete paradox to the nouveau riche monster I married a decade ago. Parental pressures do that to you.

The darkness has reared its toxic head, black feathers wrapping me into its folds…. 

The bruises from the fall last month, rendering me to the bed most of the time, have all faded away. But I hope Amrit can see the traces I deliberately left behind… The manuscript I just sent after the final edit approvals, before my life got snuffed out unceremoniously. I knew he was assigned the local police station. 

‘You think too much.’ Shipra, my best friend and confidante always says. So does my subtly vile husband. 

Birds of the same feather… 

The kohl has washed itself on my face enhancing the grotesque visual… making me resemble the crow hovering outside the window for picking his share of this pie. 

As I reluctantly transcend to another realm, I see them… again. 


Am I still hallucinating?

The wound in my heart festering deep

My credence lies in smithereens

My mind bizarrely quaint

The relentless cascade of oblivion….

Amrit should know it all… eventually. Meanwhile I take leave, forever.

Point of View #2 

By Manjeet Chandra

‘In shadows deep, truth concealed,

A life once vibrant, now unhealed.’

In the dimly lit study, an ethereal presence engulfed Amrit, as if Riya’s spirit lingered in the air. Even after a year, memories of Riya’s death had remained frozen in time. Dust settled on her casefile, concealing remnants of her past life, but Riya’s new book reignited the dormant demon of pain within Amrit.

Her book beckoned him to unravel the enigma within its pages. The story commenced with a profound poem, its words resounding in Amrit’s soul.

‘An assassin’s hand, a poison’s trace,

Slowly claiming her fragile grace.

Crows of deceit, cloaked in disguise,

Their wings obscure truth from our eyes.’

The haunting lines echoed in the silence of the room…and pierced through Amrit’s heart. The intricate tapestry of the poetry unveiled something deeply sinister. Plagued by OCD, Riya had sought solace in alcohol to numb her pain. Hallucinations and betrayal danced before Riya’s eyes, blurring the line between reality and the twisted creations of her mind. Yet, those around her refused to acknowledge her pain. 

‘Crows’ triggered a vivid reminiscence; Amrit was transported back to a conversation between him and Riya. It held the key to the cacophony of cawing crows which filled Riya with fear, and the haunting phantasms that tormented her.

‘She sought solace, a desperate plea,

But those she trusted, had evil decree.

A loyal friend in husband’s embrace,

Their sinister pact, a vile disgrace.’

Amrit’s heart ached as Riya’s pleas died a muffled death. Entangled in the web of deception, her life withered away in whispering pain; and they orchestrated her death as a suicide. 

‘Whispers of crows, a twisted guise,

Within her world, treachery lies.’

Regret weighed heavily as the truth unfolded before him, and the cryptic verses urged him to seek vengeance, and to unleash a storm of justice.

Closing the book, he felt an enigmatic calling envelop his life. Brimming with anger, Amrit called the unknown number he had found on Riya’s phone during the initial investigation, only to be surprised and disheartened by the voice on the other end- it was Riya’s psychiatrist.

Amrit’s voice grew cold, and he quoted Riya, “Medicines masked, their venom drips, 

Into her veins, a deadly eclipse. Your hands are tainted, Dr. Sharma …Yet in redemption, lies a chance to heal.”

And the icy silence engulfed the study once again…

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